I have been absent for a few days, since Sunday to be exact. Last Monday David and I visited the Jewish Museum of Athens and met with the director who gave us an introduction to Jewish life at present. She said there are about 2,700 Jews in Athens. The museum is rather small but very informative. It's divided by themes: holidays, costumes, the Holocaust, World War II, and so on. I think it is worth a visit if you come. After, we had a cold cappuccino in the tiny square and returned home to have lunch with mother (lunches are pretty important around here).
Early on Tuesday we left from Piraeus for the island of Sifnos, one of the Cyclades. It took almost 6 hours to get there on the slow ferry. After searching for a taxi at the port - Kamares - we made our way to our lodgings in Vathi - a very small hamlet. Our rooms were simple and nice, all white and blue. The beaches are sandy and that's a blessing for me. No stones or rocks please. David rented a car and we were able to visit other towns: Apollonia (the capital), Kastro (the ancient walls), Plati Yialos, Faros, Chrissopighi. Kastro offers a maze of narrow streets, up and down steps, and the Acropolis or high town. All is stone and rock, white and blue. We also visited the tiny museum in Kastro. Of course mother stayed down at a lovely cafe where we had lunch later.
I enjoyed splashing in the different waters of the various beach towns and soaking up the sun and the salt of the sea. We met a young man from Athens one day and he joined us for dinner. Mostly we ate tavern food but Sifnos is known for its chick peas and capers. When I say tavern food I mean the traditional Greek fare most of us are familiar with.
In Apollonia mother searched for her cousin Maria's brother and we found him. Amazing! Maria has lived in Chicago for 50 years. Small world: we sat at a corner cafe for a cool drink and asked the owner/waiter if he knew George Avra. He said: sure, he lives up that street, around the corner. We walked up the narrow alley and looked around a bit, asked a couple of more people, and then I saw a man inside a courtyard and said: do you know George Avra? He replied: who are you? I am he.
We chatted for ten minutes with him and his wife before rejoining David who was waiting at the cafe.
The drive around the island was a bit stressful for David because it's all narrow roads on the sides of mountains, curves and more curves. But after a couple of days he felt more confident. The views are fantastic from on high down to the small white towns and the blue-blue of the Aegean. Just like in the posters you see advertising Greece. I took quite a few pictures and will post them later on this blog. Breathtaking panoramas!